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back to article Plugs pulled on satellite paedo tracking after pilot flops

The Ministry of Justice has finally, officially, pulled the plugs on David Blunkett's 'prisons without bars' - plans to use satellite tracking to monitor sex offenders have been suspended pending improvements in the technology. Instead, the MoJ plans to use lie detector tests to deal with paedophiles. In reality, however, the …

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Ian

Except of course

lie detectors don't really work very well, and can usually be beaten by anybody with half a brain.

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Alien

re: lie detector tests

>> Rolling out compulsory lie detector tests for sex offenders instead promises to be

>> considerably less complicated

Lie detectors, yet more technology with "dubious" reliability and accuracy

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Anonymous Coward

lie detectors

When even the Americans, whose love for technology know no bounds, now treat lie detectors as a psychological device rather than a measuring device, it seems strange that we're starting to use them seriously.

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Alien

Big Suprise

Pity that ID cards hadn't been rolled out, that would have protected the public at large...ideally from the bloody politicians who dream up these schemes.

1 in 4 sex offenders released re-offended. Lock them up and throw away the key then, they lost their right to any form of liberty. I don't care how much it costs.

People who dream up these schemes must be on another planet.

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Paris Hilton

@ Tim

Well said. Very eloquently spoken. And a F*ck you to all the haters who seem to think that they have a right to judge! FFS, i wouldn't mind betting that all the people, that commented negatively, would give their eye teeth for the ability to provide for their family as this man can. All you have to do is concentrate and work hard. A concept lost on most of the inhabitants of this green and pleasant land!

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Paris Hilton

Just a thought

Smaller prisoners, that's my solution. Have it so that taller, larger prisoners are given slightly shorter jail terms than short, small prisoners. After a few years the government could develop "high rise" jails that have high ceilings and a very small footprint - strap the prisoners to boards, so that they sleep upright. Problem solved.

Paint the tops of their heads bright red, and fit the satellites with a camera that can detect bright red. Also, paint the soles of their feet bright red, in case they try standing upside down.

Paint the prisoners bright red from head to toe.

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Silver badge

Telling Lies

"This pilot did however reveal that around 60 per cent of those tested were telling lies, and resulted in probation officers increasing their risk assessment for 81 per cent of the subjects."

Yea, what were they telling lies about? I bet it wasn't about children - Obviously they weren't telling lies about paedo activities, otherwise we would expect them to be locked up. They were asked about what they had for lunch on the Thursday night after they last has lamb chops but had not had any kiwifruit for breakfast within three weeks of that.

The pigs asked questions that they knew would be answered incorrectly "lies" to make their pilot look better.

Jesus, everyone knows lie detectors don't work worth a crap. Why are we basing the safety of our children on them? Weird.

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Joke

@Ian

>lie detectors don't really work very well, and can usually be beaten by anybody with half a brain.

And yet 60% of offenders failed the test. Perhaps Brass Eye were right about the 'more in common with crabs than humans' thing...

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Coat

Tracking system

I went for a job interview with some of the folks involved in the actual tracking system. I told them it was crap technology implemented poorly. I didnt get the job.

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Ian

I told 'em

I wrote to my MP when the ludicrous proposal was first made, and got a patronising ``experts say it'll work'' response from the hilariously named Paul Goggins. Nice to see I was right and they were wrong.

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(Written by Reg staff)

Re: Telling Lies

They were telling lies when asked whether they had breached their parole conditions. So yes, the lies weren't necessarily about children, and many of them could well have been of relatively low consequence. The more intense than normal focus on the behaviour of the subjects in the pilot may, it seems to me, have simply indicated that people on parole or under a community order are quite frequently guilty of minor breaches of the Ts & Cs.

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Silver badge
Flame

Jeremy Kyle ?

Presumably our law-makers have too much time on their hands and fill it by watching daytime TV.

Following this theme, sex offenders could finance their lie-detection tests by buying and selling antiques and/or property development.

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Anonymous Coward

hmm

I thought sex offenders had one of the lowest rates of reoffending about.

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Unhappy

@ hmm

Other way round - sex offenders against children have the highest recidivist rates.

To prevent them getting killed they are locked up with others who share their dysfuntional beliefs about their activities ("it didn't just happen once - if they didn't like it they wouldn't have come back", "what better way is there to show someone you love them?", "they started asking questions, and its always better to show someone than just tell them" and similar crap ), exchange their charge sheets as masturbatory material, and the beliefs become more entrenched, i.e. prison makes them more likely to offend when they come out.

Of course, many can be treated - but thats the expensive option. Best way is to lock them up for life before they do anything, makes it easy to extend that option to other 'potential criminals' once its been done.

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Coat

@hmm

"I thought sex offenders had one of the lowest rates of reoffending about."

That's suicide bombers you were thinking of.

Mine's the one with the wires sticking out.

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Pirate

A tisket, a tasket, a head in a basket

It cannot reply to questions you ask it.

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Anonymous Coward

Technology at the service of Man

Method: Connect a lie detector to a shock generator attached to the subject so that when the lie detector exceeds a preset threshold a measured dose of fresh coulombs is administered to the subject. Questions may be put to the subject by a specialist, or optionally automatically by a recording to ensure consistency of operation. Repeat ad nauseam.

Benefit: Surveillance interrogation, punishment, therapy rolled into one. Add execution if rehabilitation is not required (simplifies implementation, reduces costs, etc).

Problem solved, at no cost to conscience.

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Re: Technology at the service of Man

Rig it all up to be run from a series of oversized hamster-wheels holding the other prisoners. That way you could probably blag some extra funding as it would be a "Green Initiative".

Also keeps the other prisoners to tired to cause trouble.

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Wrong technology

Wouldn't a penile plethysmograph (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Penile_plethysmograph) be a better device for detecting recidivism amongst sex offenders than a lie detector?

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Alert

The usual way

Remember, the usual way to "beat" lie detectors is to basically force yourself to be tense and erratic when you are answering the "basic" questions early on to calibrate the machine, then carry on the same behaviour throughout the actual questioning. It becomes impossible to then tell fact from fiction - lie detectors only work when you cooperate with them. It helps to drink lots of coffee and pull an all-nighter just before you are tested as well since that wrecks the stability of your heart rate. Remember your nervous twitches - bouncing your knee up and down for the duration of the test is a good way to wreck it :)

Of course, its a complete joke that we should attempt to use it :(

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Recidivism

From the Wiki pages:

* Of the 272,111 persons released from prisons in 15 States in 1994, an estimated 67.5% were rearrested for a felony or serious misdemeanor within 3 years, 46.9% were reconvicted, and 25.4% resentenced to prison for a new crime.

* The 272,111 offenders discharged in 1994 accounted for nearly 4,877,000 arrest charges over their recorded careers.

* Within 3 years of release, 2.5% of released rapists were rearrested for another rape, and 1.2% of those who had served time for homicide were arrested for a new homicide.

* Sex offenders were less likely than non-sex offenders to be rearrested for any offense –– 43 percent of sex offenders versus 68 percent of non-sex offenders.

* Sex offenders were about four times more likely than non-sex offenders to be arrested for another sex crime after their discharge from prison –– 5.3 percent of sex offenders versus 1.3 percent of non-sex offenders.

So in summary, sex offenders were more likely to be arrested for sex crimes than non-sex offenders were for sex crimes (Petty theft->Joyriding->rape?). But the rate of being arrested for ANY crime is lower.

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Paris Hilton

Why the surprise?

Has no-one noticed the pattern here? Whatever US does, we in UK follow with a bit of a lag.

let's see now:

Litigious society - they had it and we followed on years later

School run - they had it and we adopted it ("junior" could never be expected to walk 2 blocks, dammit!)

MacDonalds - they had 'em and we followed years later.

Mass Obesity - they had it and we duly followed suit years later.

Lie detectors - they used 'em and now we intend same

Recognition that lie-detector technology is crap - they've done it and we will too . . . in about another 10 years

Paris - because we all know there's nothing crap about her. Well, not that we'll identify for another 10 years.

Oops, where's the icon for "shot-self-in-foot "

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Anonymous Coward

Re Re: Technology at the service of Man

> Also keeps the other prisoners to tired to cause trouble.

It could also infringe their human rights to a sex life.

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Black Helicopters

Implants

Ok so the kit gets removed, hmmmm, Implantation, surgically! Make it low power enough to run from bodies electric field, probably need some battery back up to. If they want to cut that out let them. I also suggest some sort of erm fail safe, you know, enter proscribed location, massive consequences, anyone seen battle royale? There maybe some malfunctions, development issues etc, not caring that much.

Alternatively

You could just recognise that peados are simply Criminally insane who are completely incurable and therefore should be locked in a nice secure hospital for the rest of their natural lives. I suggest they suspend suicide watch as a cost cutting measure too.

I'd be quite happy if my taxes were spent on full life tariffs for peados, surely we have some unhabited islands suitable for a nice new secure "hospital" (gulag).

Black Helicopters - Cos thats what i'd use to transport the "patients" to their new and last home!

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Alien

Forget lie detectors

They should use COS-certified e-meters! About as effective, and then maybe the paedos could be "treated" with Dianetics!

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RW
Unhappy

@ Kwac

It's worse than that. A friend who is a prison guard tells me that pedophiles, if deprived of their little girl porn, will simply make collages of innocuous pictures of little girls clipped out of catalogs and advertisements, and use that instead as a focussing aid.

He also tells me that pedophiles generally know exactly what they are up to, and will take considerable time (and patience) to "groom" a child so their sexual advances on the kid are not rejected out of hand.

I'd be all for cutting their balls off (sorry, Mr. Moderator, but plain talk is in order), but for the problem of miscarriages of justice. Heavens knows that there have been enough witchhunts under the banner of combating pedophilia to make miscarriages a very real problem.

Sad face because this is not a pleasant topic.

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Gold badge

Or...chemical castration

The easiest solution, which has been tried in limited trials and works easily, is chemical castration. It's not like it sounds, it doesn't dissolve a persons balls off. It either blocks testosterone production or blocks it's uptake... I'm not sure which. I saw an article about this and it worked great -- several volunteers (that were released from prison, but said they had urges and were sure they'd reoffend) were given this. It'd be easy to apply more widely and make sure people got the shots, the shots were given either monthly or maybe even less often. They found they had no interest in the pornography they used to have, and the paedophilic urges they had were gone. You still wouldn't want one of these guys to be a school teacher or whatever, but the volunteers became quite harmless. This has not been applied widely at all, but certainly it'd work pretty well.

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Silver badge

@Ian

"I wrote to my MP when the ludicrous proposal was first made, and got a patronising ``experts say it'll work'' response from the hilariously named Paul Goggins. Nice to see I was right and they were wrong."

Go on, write again asking if he'll apologise for misleading you.

Writing to MPs is the last legal type of bear-baiting allowed in this country. Enjoy it before it's banned.

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Silver badge
Thumb Down

Errr...?

"...one in four of sex offenders freed early to take part in the pilot offended again within a few months."

Epic fail! You've really got to be on the ball to not only screw up a pilot study, but actually cause child molestation to occur in the bargain.

As the manager in the Penny Arcade cartoon about Star Trek producers said, "I get up early, and I don't go to bed until I've made some VERY bad decisions!"

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Anonymous Coward

Three strikes --> neutered.

Strike 1: Chemical castration.

Strike 2: Chemical castration + surgical removal of one testis.

Strike 3: Chemical castration + surgical removal of remaining testis.

Strike 4: Lifetime incarceration.

I don't imagine too many would reach strike 4.

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Silver badge

Castration doesn't work

Its been done before and doesn't work.

Yes, they wont have the bits themselves to use, but then they use other implements.

Remember sex crimes are not about the sex, its about the power over someone else.

And if someone is that bad, you have to watch their whereabouts, you shouldn't have to burden the population with that person.

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Even Better...

Strike 1: Chemical castration.

Strike 2: Chemical castration + NON-surgical removal of one testis.

Strike 3: Chemical castration + NON-surgical removal of remaining testis.

Strike 4: Lifetime incarceration.

I don't imagine too many would reach strike 3.

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Bronze badge

Won't hurt a bit!

The best way to keep tabs on convicted sex offenders , is with a chip inserted into the brain. If it is inserted thoroughly with a Colt 45, you will always know where they are.

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